While we are focusing on virtue and not on vice, it is still worthwhile to be alert to the vices. This past Sunday, the message was on GRIT. Here is the word cloud we created to show the virtue of GRIT and its opposite, SLOTH.
Sloth. Ugh! What a word!
The Book of Proverbs uses the language of “sluggard.” You will find it 14 times.
It is pretty fascinating. When I am energetic, it seems like my energy levels rise and I am less tired! When I work out regularly, I feel stronger (not weaker). When I study hard, my mind is sharper and more alert.
And when I am lazy, it is easier to be lazy some more. If I get into a vegetative mindset of “vegging” out, I can veg out for a long time. A few months ago I got into a rut. I got tired. I decided to veg. And wow, was it hard to stop vegging! The longer I vegged, the more inertia I had to overcome.
I also recently was in the “zone.” I was experiencing flow—energy, enthusiasm, press on, push ahead, give it everything. And that was exhilarating, not tiring!
Virtue and vice will both expand. What you pay attention to gets stronger. Laziness can get stronger.
Who wants to be slothful? Who wants to be lazy? Who wants to be undisciplined, unmotivated, lethargic, complacent, lukewarm, half-hearted?
Well, apparently a lot of us! Even if we don’t want to be those things, those things seem to be very easy to fall into. And once you’ve fallen into them, well it is just too much work to get out of that malaise.
Sloth was of major concern to the ancient spiritual directors, pastors, physicians of the soul, and theologians who sought after the heart of God, so it became one of the Seven Deadly Sins.
- Sloth is a lack of vitality and energy toward God and the good things of God.
- Sloth is a disposition that does as little as it can do to get by.
- Sloth is a mindset that neglects the spiritual disciplines of Scripture, worship, prayer, fellowship, and more that connect one with the heart of God.
- Sloth, today, is a pattern of life that is most interested in ease, entertainment, distraction, and diversions.
- Sloth gives up when things get difficult. “It is too much work,” sloth says. “It is too hard.”
- Sloth forgets that entropy is always at work. Entropy means that good things go into decline. Marriage, health, skills, muscles, gardens, buildings— entropy is at work to diminish and decrease all good things. Entropy means a long decline is natural. Sloth goes with gravity downward.
- Sloth is the way of least resistance and lowest cost.
- Sloth thinks, maybe tomorrow, but maybe not.
- Sloth is the couch potato and the channel surfer.
- Sloth means the massive potential that is in you will never be developed. Sloth means the good things God intends to do in and through you will never materialize. Sloth means the dissipating power of sin has its way in you.
- Sloth means you become tired and bored as a way of life. And probably skeptical, cynical, sarcastic, and critical as well, because it is always easier to complain then create.
Sloth is probably easier than ever, and therefore, more deadly than ever.